Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Quartet EnduraGlide

Not the usual review I guess.
I tried one of these markers once (for like 5 mins) and thought they were really cool, but no stores nearby carried these, so I was thinking about getting some online, and I never got them.
Yesterday I went to Staples (with the clear intention of getting what I needed, not stopping anywhere else) and noticed that the pens/markers aisle had been rearranged and slightly improved, they had those stations where you can try some pens, and they had a lot of markers and pens available by the unit, including the EnduraGlide (and unlike before, they also had pretty much the entire line of Quartet dry erase products).

I grabbed two, an aqua and a blue, for further testing.

I must say that they write really good, they feel good, they are odorless (they still have a small odor of isopropanol) and they come in a lot of colors. I'll probably stop by later to get more colors.

Unlike most current dry-erase markers, these allow you to see the ink tanks and you can estimate how much ink is left. Also, the tip is not too soft and not too hard; that's my main issue with the Expo2 / Expo low odor markers, the tip is too hard and doesn't feel good when writing with a brand new marker.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Pilot G-2, Revisited

About 6 years after trying the G-2 for the first time, I feel it's time to write a 2nd review of it.

As of now, I think that the G-2 is the pen family that allows the most customization, since you can choose
a)4 different body styles and sizes
b)4 different tip sizes
c)many different colors (not available in all sizes)

plus, you can fit cartridges designed for
a)Q-7 (0.5mm gel)
b) Precise Vx RT (5mm, 5mm liquid)
c)VBall RT (EF, F, B, liquid)
d) Mont Blanc Rollerball (Fine, Extra Fine, liquid)

I decided to stick with the 0.7mm regular G-2, which has the most colors available and I find it to be the best in most types of paper.

You can feel how the pen moves freely on the paper, doesn't feel scratchy or anything like that, the ink is not dispatched in excess, however, you still need to be careful not to smear the ink. The ink seems to be lasting, although the amount of writing I do now is by no means comparable to what I was doing a little over a year ago.

My main complaint is the availability, some colors like navy blue are only available by the unit from Pilot's website, the other option is a 3-pack available at certain stores (it comes in orange, forest green and navy), which sometimes complicates things, since I don't use forest green a lot (let alone neon orange).

And for those who try the MontBlanc conversion, DO NOT carry that pen in your pocket, that ink has a nasty habit to spill when you accidentaly press the clicky mechanism.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

More Round Stics

And as summer progresses, I keep on getting more pens in my collection, and as my travel and hotel stays continues, I've been able to get more Round Stic Pens.

It turns out that some Marriott brands are renovating themselves, and with the renovations, comes an increased ecology thing, and more things are made from recycled materials, pens included.

They moved away from the traditional white barrels and solid color caps, so the new Marriott pens have a translucent barrel with a dark translucent red caps (please note that it's not completely "clear" like the Diamante or Crystal pens), and the Courtyard by Marriott are also translucent, but the caps are translucent green or orange. And on the barrel they have a small recycle sign and say 74%. These are the new Bic Ecolutions pens, which are already available for the consumer market.

These are actually really cool, and here are the pics

My room had 2 green ones, the 2 orange ones were stolen from my parents' room. The design of the notepads has also changed.

And here you can see the all of them. The Courtyard logo was dropped from the new pens, and you can see the old one there. The old design has been around for at least 10 years.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bic Round Stic Medium USA

So a month after my last post, I'm back online. School is over and I'm already on my way home (should go to bed soon, since I'll be waking up in less than 5 hours. This is partially the reason of my post.

If you have followed my blog for a while you might think I just went crazy or something. Yes, I'm well known to my family and friends to be quite eccentric with pens, yes, I have a Pilot G2 Mont Blanc Edition, yes, I order 0.38 pens from JetPens, yes, I spent 15 minutes at a drugstore looking for more 0.05mm Uni Pin pens, and many more yeses, but, everything started with hotel pens. Over the course of my almost 19 years of existence I have stayed in a bunch of hotels, from a motel that didn't even have hot water to Fiesta Americana and Intercontinental luxury hotels, and if possible, I've kept the pens and the keycards (plus my dad's and aunt's travels have brought me many more).

The reality is that a decent number of hotels put a couple of pens in your room. At some point my collection had more than 100 hotel pens that spanned the US, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Spain. And my collection is still quite big, and dominated by the Bic Round Stic Medium.

The Round Stic Medium (RSM) is a pen that's not nearly as famous as the famous "Crystal", in fact, it's almost impossible to get it in some countries, but my collection is quite big.

I must say that the RSM is a great pen, if you consider that you can buy a 12 pack of them for a few bucks, yeah, some people use G-2s, 207s, etc, but they keep a jar of RSMs because people rarely return G-2s. The feel of them is way better than that of the Crystal, and the writing is not bad, again, I've used cheap pens for a long time, and the RSM is just great.

While looking for hotels near the Phoenix airport I saw an email from Continental Airlines with some kind of special offer when staying at Hyatt Place hotels. I looked and found one of these hotels close to the airport and for a decent price.

After checking in a few hours ago I noticed that the pens came in several colors, and when I went down to the front desk to arrange tomorrow's transportation I asked them about the number of colors, to which they just looked at each other and said hmmm 5, 6 or so, and asked me if I wanted one of each color (a big yes) and one of the guys went somewhere and came back with 6 pens, and the other one had already given me like 4. Being happier than a 5 year old who just got the newest action toy I had to post this.

And here are the pictures. These clear barrels are awesome, and not easily found (one of my friends thought I was tricking him when I offered him a brand new Pilot G-2 in exchange for his clear barreled RSM that he got at a Radisson).

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bic Triumph 537R

So a couple of months back I went to Staples looking for nothing in specific and found some somewhat expensive Bic pens. I decided to think about them and come back later, mostly because of previous dissapointment with Bic pens (including the Z4 leak back in 7th grade). I grabbed a 4 pack a few days later and tried it out.

This is one of the few refillable Bic pens (probably the only one unless you consider the 5 cents a piece stic pens, which are indeed refillable, but refills aren't sold -they must be sourced from another pen :|) and after trying it out I decided that it wasn't bad after all. It doesn't have the nice feel of Pilot or Uniball pens, but it doesn't feel like a Bic either.

Some people complain of ink bleeding, I was using them on regular bond paper (20lb 92 brightness, 30% recycled, Staples brand) and didn't notice anything bad, but if you are using 20lb notepads things might be different.

I still have to try the 730R ones, but that will be later, once I throw away some 3 or 4 (and an upcoming trip home means I will come back with ziploc bags full of pens)

In conclusion, not a bad pen, a departure from what we think when we hear "Bic". I'm not sure if I would buy another one though, I like more Pilots and Uniballs, so I might just go thru this 4-pack, maybe try the 730R and that will be it.

On a side note, there are many pens advertised as refillable, but aside from the Pilot G2 and Uniball Signo (regular, 7mm ones), refills are hard to come by unless you order them online, possibly in a big order (to avoid paying $2 for a refill and $7 for the shipping) and selection is sometimes limited.

Pictures will come once I find a pen (3 of them are sitting inside a box in my storage unit, the remaining one has been flying around my truck for the past week after I wrote down some coordinates while traveling on a dirt road and didn't put it back in my pocket

Monday, 13 April 2009

They're here!

After some inactivity, I have a story to share.

At the same time I moved for college, my family moved to an apartment, and in the process it seems like someone found my writing instruments drawers and got some new stuff, among them was a Uni M552, several pens and a Pentel Graph 1000 limited in blue.

I haven't been able to find another blue 0.5mm one (I think there's a few on Ebay selling from like Russia or Japan, so I'll have to take a look). Well, JetPens now has the 2nd edition of the limited edition, so I managed to order 3 of the champagne 0.5mm and a grey 0.3mm (they were out in 0.5mm) and they just got here (I wasn't expecting them until tomorrow), at this point I'm really happy. Even though the blue one was my favorite, these ones are really nice (and at some point they might end up being collectors items -like many other engineering/architecture things after 40 years).

Photos to follow later, in the meantime, here is a pic from JetPens

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Going green

Well, after almost 2 months of inactivity here's a new review. I have plenty of pens to review, I just forget about it or don;t have time to do it.

This time is the Zebra Eco Sarasa Clip 0.7mm, I picked a 2-pack of these at Office Max during a sale they had last week, 25%off their eco products so I could not resist.

This pen is exactly the same as the Asian Sarasa Clip which you can get from JetPens (they now call it the Push Clip), the Sarasa Clip is not found at normal stores here in the US (not that I know of) but the Eco is. The main difference is that the Eco's clip is clear plastic as opposed to the clip of the Asian Clip which is the color of the ink. I feel it to be far more comfortable than the regular Sarasa, which is not bad at all, but the Clip is better.

The interesting part is this. According to their website, the Eco Sarasa is made of 81% post consumer waste, including Polypropylene (good, those grocery bags are filling up our landfills), Polycarbonate from CD's and headlamps and Polyacetal from cassette tape reels, plus the packaging that is 100% post consumer waste.

I feel that this is a good approach on becoming greener, of course, trying to get rid of things like paper magazines or newspapers is outrageous, but the idea of helping the environment using pens made of recyclable materials (which are already recycled) is good and not very expensive (unlike switching your 5.3L V8 Chevy Tahoe for a $45000 Hybrid Tahoe). Also remember that it takes a regular Sarasa cartridge so you can get a 0.4mm or 0.5mm cartridge from Jetpens and still be green enough. Uniball Signo and Pentel Energel / Hybrid Technica refills fit too (I did have a needle point Sarasa for a while)

The downside, it comes only in black, but hey, you can still put other cartridges in there. And the rubber grip tends to collect some lint.

The pictures will appear later since my camera is in my truck and I already feel the symptoms of sleep deprivation.